Typical disturbances of biological environment such as background scatter and refractive index variations have little effect on the size-dependent scattering property of highly refractive nanocrystals, which are potentially attractive optical labels. We report on what is to our knowledge the first investigation of these scattering optical labels, and their sizing, in particular, by imaging at subvideo frame rates and analyzing samples of diamond nanocrystals deposited on a glass substrate in air and in a matrix of weakly scattering polymer. The brightness of a diffraction-limited spot appears to serve as a reliable measure of the particle size in the Rayleigh scattering limit.
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